California Bound by

Wagon Train & Steamship
(May, 1850)

Notes: The following two lists appeared in the New Orleans' Daily Picayune on the dates indicated. An "*" indicates when a name appears on both lists. Name spellings differ between the lists. If you would like a scanned copy of the list emailed to you, send me a message. There are 87 names on the first list and 151 names on the second list. There is no reference to this Company in Rasmussen's Wagon Train lists.

The expedition proved to be a disastrous and fraudulent endeavor instigated by Col. French. Later online research about Col. Parker H. French and the expedition can be found at: "FRENCH EXPEDITION." The Handbook of Texas Online. In any event, it appears that the "expedition" arrived in San Francisco December 14, 1850.

The Daily Alta California reported the arrival of some of the surviving members of the party on December 16, 1850. A list of the members who had arrived in San Francisco (by boat from San Diego) was also published, as was a first hand account of the outrageous conduct of Capt. French. Published articles transcribed below.

According to the Political Graveyard, French ended up in California as a member of the State Assembly, District 2, 1854-55.

Daily Picayune, New Orleans, May 26, 1850

For California. - The steamship Falcon brings a company of California emigrants, under Capt. French, who intend reaching the land of gold by the overland route through Texas. They left New York on the Georgia, and were transferred to the Falcon in Havana. They are a fine looking set of men, and all are well armed with rifles and revolvers. We append their names:
List of Capt. French's Company.--

Alford, E. A.* (Alfred, Ephraim A.)
Arnold, Dan'l*
Babcock, Austin*
Baker, A.*
Baker, H.*
Baldridge, M.*
Baylor, William*
Booth, S. S.*
Bradford, John*
Brower, B. C.*
Brown, Wm.*
Burk, Edward*
Burnum, Henry*
Byrnes, Samuel*
Carroll, Lawrence*
Clapp, J. H.*
Conlan, James*
Cooper, D.*
Crevling, Benjamin*
Culver, O. J.*
Davis, G. S.*
DeLamott, L.*
Doty, Jerome*
Doyle, W. S.*
Drum, H. N.*
Dunning, Charles*
Fisher, A.*
Fortiner, J. B.*
Goodbody, R.*
Goodrich, Abraham*
Gorman, James*
Gray, Peter* (Contact: Catherine Green)
Hare, Isaac*
Hewit, Roswell*
Holmes, John*
Hubbard, T.*
Hungerford, Reuben*
Jackson, Henry*
Jackson, Henry
Jackson, Henry W.*
Lardinell, C.
Macken, Thomas*
Maguire, Michael C.* (McGuire)
Maxon, Samuel*
McBride, James*
McClory, John*
McCormack, Roger*
Miller, E. B.*
Miller, John*
Mines, Michael*
Mitler, John* (Mettle, John ?)
Mosby, B. F.*
Myers, James*
Nelson, Wm. J.*
Paine, Lewis*
Piper, Fred.
Piper, James*
Reer, James
Rice, N.*
Robinson, Franklin*
Roundo, Spafford* (Rounds, Spatlard)
Rowell, J. B.*
Shalar, Theodore
Simpson, George*
Slack, C. A.*
Slack, W. A.*
Smith, Hiram*
Snyder, A. R.*
Spalding, D. O.*
Spencer, Sylvester*
Stebbins, Almers*
Steel, Andrew*
Surdell, A. A.
Thurston, Caleb*
Vanauken, D. J.*
Vanauken, J.
Vanholland, George F.*
Vastbinder, Dr.*
Walsh, P.*
Watto, H.* (Watts)
Wetherington, R. H.* (Witherington)
White, Samuel*
Wilkinson, J. P.*
Wright, A. W.*
Wright, Daniel*
Wright, John B.*
Young, George*

Daily Picayune, New Orleans, June 2, 1850

Capt. French's Company. - The following is a list of the passengers forming Capt. French's company for California, via Indianola, San Antonio, and El Paso, per steamship Galveston, Capt. Place, which left here Friday morning, 31st ult.:

Alfred, Ephraim A.*
Arnold, Daniel
Babcock, Austin*
Bailey, Daniel
Baker, Andrew*
Baker, Henry*
Baldridge, M.*
Bastedo, J. G.
Baylor, William*
Benny, P. A.
Booker, Obadiah
Booth, S. S.*
Boylen, Charles
Bradford, John*
Bradley, Geo. W.
Bradley, James
Brower, Burnett C.*
Brown, William*
Bruser, Francis
Burke, Edwd.*
Burnain, Henry*
Burns, Samuel*
Cady, Asa
Cady, George M.
Calligan, E.
Cardinell, Charles
Carroll, Lawrence*
Chamberlane, Crowell
Chamberlane, Griffin
Chamberlane, Henry H.
Chamberlane, Timothy D.
Clap, John H.*
Cole, James
Cole, John
Comstock, Ishmael S.
Conlan, James*
Cooper, David*
Corss (Cross ?), Gen. A. M.
Crevling, Benjamin*
Cruver (Craver ?), John
Culver, O. J.*
Cummings, Samuel
Dan, Thos.
Davis, Gardner S.*
Delamott, Lawrence*
Doty, Jerome*
Doyle, W. S.*
Drum, Hyram M.*
Durning, Charles*
Fair, Charles
Fisher, Andrew*
Fortiner, Joseph*
Freeman, Joseph D.
Gibson, C. L.
Goodbody, R.*
Goodridge, Abraham
Gorman, James*
Gray, Peter*(Contact: Catherine Green)
Hahr, Andrew
Hand, Isaac
Hare, Isaac*
Harn, William H.
Hecker, Andrew
Hewett, Bozwell*
Hodge, George
Hodge, W.
Holmes, Jno.*
Hubbard, Thomas*
Hungerford, Reuben*
Hutt, Edward
Jackson, Henry*
Jackson, Henry W.*
Johnston, Russel
Keer, James
Kennedy, John
Kidder, Thomas E.
Layne, P. M.
Leidleg, George A.
Leverin, C.
Lindeau, Andrew
Lisbeg, James
Lockwood, Chas
Macken, Thomas*
Marise, Geo.
Martin, T. W.
Matthews, Wesley
Maxon, Samuel*
McBride, James*
McClory, John*
McCormack, Roger*
McGuire, Michael C.* (Maguire ?)
Mettle, John* (Mitler?)
Miles, William
Miller, Edward B.*
Miller, John*
Milton, James H.
Mines, Michael*
Mosby, B. F.*
Myers, James*
Nelson, William J.*
Payne, L.*
Pepper, W. A.
Perry, Amasa M.
Perry, H. W.
Piper, James*
Renny, Timothy
Rheen, C. W.
Rice, N.*
Riley, Thos.
Robinson, Franklin*
Rorke, Edward H.
Rounds, Spatlard*
Rowell, John B.*
Simpson, George*
Slack, C. A.*
Slack, W. W.*
Smith, Hyram*
Smyley, S. S.
Snyder, Alfred R.*
Spaulding, Don O.*
Spencer, Sylvester*
Stebbins, Almus*
Steel, Andw.*
Summerland, Isaac
Swan, Anson R. (B. ?)
Swiger, James I. (L. ?)
Taylor, John
Thaler, Theodore
Thomas, William
Thurston, Caleb*
Thyar, Oscar
Tillon (Tilloa ?), Rufus
Tindall, Alonzo A.
Vanauken, D. J.*
Vanauken, Theodore
Vanholland, George S.*
Vastvinder (Vastyinder ?), Dr.*
Viasser (Vlasser ?), Frederick
Walsh, P.*
Watts, Henry* (Watto ?)
Watts, Henry J.
Weinand, Lewis
Welch, John
Wells, Amasa M.
White, Samuel E.*
Wilkinson, Jacob P.*
Witherington, R. H.*
Wright, A. W.*
Wright, Daniel E.*
Wright, John B.*
Young, George*

Daily Alta California, December 16, 1850 --

ARRIVAL OF CAPT. FRENCH'S COMPANY.-- In another column we publish the names and residences of the members of Capt. French's famous Express Company which came through Texas. They arrived here yesterday in the barque "J. A. Jesurun," Capt. H. A. Snow, from Guaymas.

Baker, A. J., do
Clagett, H., Ky.
Coras, Gen. A. N., N.Y.
Fitton, Jas., San Francisco
Fortiner, Joseph B., Pa.
Foster, Dr. Thomas, Texas
Freeman, Wm., do
Haslett, Samuel, and 3 boys, do
Hewitt, Roswell, N.Y.
Huring, Thos., do
Johnson, Russell, Michigan
Mackenzie, A., Texas
Maxson, Samuel, N.Y.
Mettler, John, N.Y.
Phillipps, Westley, do
Rooker, Edward H., of Hamilton, Canada W. died on board on the 6th day of Dec., of congestion of the brain, aged about 28.
Slaughter (?), Pleasant J., do
Strain, J. M., do
Thayer, Oscar, do
Tillow, Rufus, N.Y.
White, Seth E., Va.

Daily Alta California, December 17, 1850 -

Capt. French's Company.

We have received from one of the members of the above company, Mr. William Miles, of Carlise, Pennsylvania, an account of their journey to some extent, the treatment they received from Capt. French, &c. The company was called the "Overland Express Train." It left New York City on the 13th of May last, for San Francisco by way of New Orleans, Lavacca, Texas, thence to El Paso by spring wagons. It seems that French had induced some 230 men to pay him $250 a-piece, contracting to take them through in sixty traveling days. They were four months in reaching El Paso. Considering that they had been completely deceived by French, and being nearly worn out with fatigue and disappointment they resolved to hold a public meeting, and request French to send the passengers by pack mules to their point of destination. While they were consulting upon the subject the news arrived by express, from San Antonio, that French had used, without authority, Howland & Aspinwall's names in a letter of unlimited credit, without their knowledge and signature.

Of course the whole company was thrown into confusion. The idea of being abandoned in a strange land, without money or food, after having paid $250 for a through ticket, was not very grateful. Legal measures had been taken by French's creditors to seize all the outfit, to prevent which the company resolved to place everything in the hands of officers chosen to receive them, and to sell and distribute the proceeds, pro rata, according to the claims of the passengers. French, while at Lavacca, had selected Thirty men to act as jurors for the arbitrament of differences and for the punishment of crimes and offences, himself signing his pledge to abide by their decisions. In accordance with such organization, the chattels were sold, a final settlement made, and 20 per cent on all the claims was paid over to the members of the company or passengers. With this amount they had to purchase their mules, provisions, and pay whatever necessary expenses might accrueon their journey. French appealed to the American Military Commander, the Sheriff, the Mexican and American Consuls, to interfere in his behalf and strip his dupes of everything. But in vain.

Finally, a part of the passengers, badly fitted out, left El Paso, on a journey of a thousand or fifteen hundred miles, for San Diego. Soon after leaving they learned that French had employed some twenty men, armed to the teeth, for the purpose of robbing them. This he effected, the passengers being scattered. Each man as he came up was commanded with a pistol at his breast, to give up his weapons, and then was stripped of whatever he possessed - blankets, clothing, mules, money, &c. Many were thus left entirely destitute. Finally, a little party of half a dozen Vermonters, who happened to be together, determined to and did resist. A battle was the consequence, in which two, a Mr. Wright and Mr. Nelson were killed, Mr. Cooper had a thigh broken, and Mr. Holmes both arms broken.

French had his right arm shattered, and was supposed mortally wounded, being shot also in the side. This occurred at Corolitas, in Mexico. When French was shot his banditti scattered, and the rest of the company were allowed to pass on.

They suffered terribly by hunger, thirst, and toil, but bore all with fortitude, working their way along with worn down bodies and swollen feet, until they reached the Colorado. There the gardens of the Houmas Indians, which had been deserted by them after their battle with the California troops, furnished the poor worn out travelers for a week or ten days with beans. After a journey of seven months some forty reached San Diego, thirty-five took passage in a brig for this place, and were twenty-one days in reaching here, having divided out the last provisions and water on board ere their arrival.

Here is suffering and misfortune and horror enough for one narration. If it be all true, and French comes to this country, as it is reported he will do, being on his way here minus an arm, if the men he has thus injured are men unworthy of such outrage, we think he will be likely to have a "happy time of it." We give our authority, knowing nothing further of the matter.

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